Future flight: self-healing, transforming
A British defence company has discovered the deadly possibilities of 3D printing, unveiling plans for self-healing fighter jets, transformers which split in midair, and instant drones.
Experts at BAE Systems have offered an insight into their research using animated videos, and say some of the futuristic technologies could be incorporated in military or civil aircraft by 2040.
The first concept is for 3D printers so advanced that they can be used onboard during a mission to create drones to suit the scenario.
The second is described as "the survivor", and envisions aircrafts with the ability to quickly repair themselves from damage sustained during a battle.
The third aircraft uses "transformer" technology that allows a jet to split apart into smaller pieces to adapt to any scenario.
The final technology is a weapon attachment for aircraft capable of firing a concentrated beam of energy at the speed of light.
These beams could destroy missiles and protect the people below, the company said.
BAE Systems said their research and development team worked with aviation experts from universities, government and other companies to predict and explore how aircraft engineering might evolve.
Futurist and engineering manager Nick Colosimo said while they did not know exactly what aircraft technologies would be used by 2040, it was great to be able to show the public some concepts that might be possible through projecting where today's technologies could get to.
The company last year invested £117 million (NZ$230m) in research and development.